NHS Digital expected to lose 500 staff in restructure

Health secretary announces that all 3,100 employees will be required to apply for roles, with about one in six ultimately expected to leave

Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

All of NHS Digital’s 3,000 employees will have to reapply for roles in the organisation’s new structure, with about 500 staff ultimately expected to leave. 

In answer to a parliamentary written question, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said that NHS Digital is anticipating “a net overall reduction in headcount of circa 500 full time equivalents” as part of the ongoing Org2 restructure of the organisation. 

The structural overhaul will take place in a series “waves”, he added, the first of which is currently taking place. The entire process is expected to conclude by 20/21.

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NHS Digital currently employs a total of about 3,100 people, all of whom “will be required to apply for posts in the new organisation structure”, Hancock said. Affected staff are currently based across offices in Exeter, Southampton, London, Redditch, Southport, Washington, and Leeds, where NHS Digital is headquartered and almost two thirds of its employees are located.

“A programme of staff engagement and discussions with staff representatives is in place,” Hancock said. “NHS Digital is working to ensure that it provides every facility to help staff secure suitable alternate employment. A professional outplacement service has been secured to work with displaced staff and NHS Digital is seeking opportunities with other public and private sector employers in the areas affected.”

NHS Digital’s director of regions and professions Sean Walsh said that, as much as possible, the reduction in headcount “will be through a combination of redeployment, natural turnover and suitable alternative employment”. 

He added that, while 500 is the current estimate for how many full-time equivalent posts will be lost, “it is important to note that we cannot be precise about the exact numbers at this stage because they may change to reflect the outcomes of the proposals for change, as well as external influences which may affect us”.

“This restructure is about skilling up our workforce and rethinking our structure,” Walsh said. “This will ensure that we have the deep skills and technical expertise to deliver the best service for both patients and customers, and that our structure allows us to flex according to the needs of the health and care sector.” 

He added: “This is understandably a difficult and challenging time for our hard-working employees and we are taking every possible step to provide them with all the help and support they need.”

Sam Trendall

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